Monday September 12th, 2011 21:12 Electric vs hybrid – which is better?

Electric Car

For some years now, electric vehicles have offered a green alternative way to drive around town. Running on electric power means they are one of the lowest emission vehicles on the road, and so benefit from low road tax as well. There’s no need to worry about petrol or diesel prices and you can recharge your car overnight at home.
The main drawback for going electric until recently has been the limited range that electric vehicles have before they need recharging. This is becoming less of an issue as newer models have improved range and a greater number of charging points are being made available. In London in May 2011, for example, a citywide charging and membership scheme was launched. For an annual £100 membership fee electric vehicle owners will be able to plug in at charge points on residential streets, in supermarket and public car parks and at leisure centres. In fact there should be 1,300 publicly accessible points by 2013, in which case they will outnumber petrol stations in the capital.
However, in spite of these developments for electric vehicle owners, electric family cars are still not a common sight across the nation. It’s more likely that a greener family car choice would be a hybrid, as being able to quickly top up on fuel at any petrol station offers a greater level of practicality. You can travel without restriction, without having to worry that you might run out of charge on your way somewhere. There’s no need to wait for the charge as you do for an electric car, and hybrids can travel at the same speeds as other vehicles. Electric vehicles are slower, another reason they have been confined to urban use thus far.
Hybrid cars in the UK are available in a large number of different models, offering more flexibility than electric vehicles. Finally, although you produce more emissions driving a hybrid than an electric car, they will generate 25% less than a conventional car during their lifetime, so it’s still a considerable contribution to helping protect the environment.

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Image supplied by Alan Trotter

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Sunday November 21st, 2010 20:38 Toyota Rav4 EV Unveiled

The new Toyota Rav4 EV was unveiled on November 17 at the L.A. Auto Show. This model is a joint project with Tesla Motors of California. Tesla put a Tesla electric powertrain into the crossover. This is what separates it from the Toyota Rav4 which has been available for a number of years.

This is actually the second Toyota Rav4 with an electric operating system. The company previously created a Rav4 for the lease market in early 2003. They announced at the time that the company is dedicated to the idea; however, due to poor sales of just a few hundred they said the timing was not right for the new concept.

Rumors regarding the electric Toyota Rav4 EV started last summer. The company released some teaser images of the new car recently. The new EV has the body of the SUV although it has the same powertrain as the Tesla. The electric model is set to go on sale in the United States in 2012. The company has not yet released the sticker price. The full specs of the SUV will not be released until it is unveiled at the LA Auto Show.

The joint effort of the two companies producing the Toyota Rav4 EV allows Tesla to benefit from Toyota’s manufacturing expertise. Toyota intends to learn from Tesla’s EV technology capabilities. The company also plans to benefit from the responsive and flexible approach to business and decision making that their partner offers.

The new SUV is a further example of Toyota’s efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels as well as to cut CO2 emissions by developing more efficient and alternative powertrain technologies. The company has led the auto industry in the development of hybrid petrol-electric systems. The Prius, Auris hybrid and other models in the worldwide market are examples of their dedication.

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